Several months ago, after having just left the house, I had the pleasure while meandering down the highway, of driving past a fellow citizen. This being a warm spring day like many others I was caught in my own thoughts, and as I was alone, which truly rarely was something I’d experienced being the mother of three beautiful kiddos and the caretaker of such a lovely zoo as it was.
Driving past me was a red mini van, not unlike any other mini van a person could encounter. Handling this gently used machine was a fellow a few years younger than myself. One hand guiding the steering wheel, and the other…. well if you were expecting me to say head banging or something fantastic, don’t jump the gun this is well worth the fanfare! The other hand was out the window holding onto the slightest corner of a queen sized mattress which was flopping wildly in the wind, against the two ratcheted restraints holding it to the roof of the mini van. The driver looked up twice at his fist full of air blown comfort; both pride and satisfaction beaming on his face.
As soon as the smoking van puttered past I burst into a bought of laughter that got me to my exit off of the highway. My laughter was compliments of the fantastic image of it all.
Since that moment which I’ve shared with a handful of friends and family members, I’ve been able to process the same image in several different ways.
At first glance one could easily say the young man was entirely clueless in hoping that the three inches of the corner of that wind shaken bedroom furnishing he held in his hand was actually somehow helping it to stay atop his roof. In which case pity was certainly flooding the senses.
Then there was the chance that perchance this young fella finally had the opportunity to give up that twin sized mattress that he’d been sleeping on in his parents basement since he’d left the toddler bed, and grasping that mattress gave him a beaming sense of pride.
A few months down the road I was awash with political blahk and envisioned this young man proudly taking control of the corner of that mattress, by golly! That is his corner, he had that corner, fighting so hard for that small piece that he paid little attention to the rest of the mattress that was being beaten to death on the top of his vehicle. Perhaps it wasn’t pride but a sense of arrogance or entitlement.
Walking through a department store grasping different material blends as I often do, I giggled. Perhaps, I ponder with with a quizzical brow, the young man sheepishly snaked his wrist through the window to finally feel the threading of what the salesman said was the “luxury line” mattress cover. Curiosity and textural appeal very possibly motivated this young man.
Maybe the poor man was clinging to the last of a few of the sparse belongs he had. This wasn’t his choice, this was pain, this was him holding on to something simple yet something that at this very moment was the only comfort he had. Clinging to the corner of that waving spring airing out were insecurities and perhaps the last bit of a hope.
Eh maybe the mattress was for his 133 pound St Bernard, and his hand itched so he was rubbing it against a loose support in the corner of the discounted mattress he bought.
There are always ways we can look through the lens at out own predicaments and situations. Of course the same is true of how we choose to look at those around us. While through a matter of time I did question the “why” my initial reaction was of joy as I enjoy the humor of a mattress flopping wildly in the wind, after all that itself is a rarity.
It is too easy to want to find reason to be upset or angry or disappointed in our fellow man. Often while chasing out dreams and keeping down a steady rhythm in our day we forget to enjoy the oddities and the differences, the strange shapes, and unique hues that make our paintings more exciting to look at.
Don’t forget to laugh. Don’t forget to enjoy the art around you. Try not to spend too much time searching for the things that don’t actually enrich your life.